Over 100 Democrats introduced their “Medicare for All” proposal on Feb. 27.
The text of the bill has not yet been released — they learned from the disastrous Green New Deal launch — but a summary lists key provisions, such as:
1. It bans private health insurance, including employer-provided insurance plans. If you like your plan, you can’t keep your plan. If you like your doctor, you can’t keep your doctor. (At least they’re honest about it this time.)
2. It will move everyone to Medicare within two years. Obamacare took over three years to launch. When it did, the website crashed. The government will move ten times as many people, in half the time, to Medicare. Somehow.
3. It’s “free”! No co-pays, no premiums, no deductibles. But the bill includes no price tag, or any plan to come up with the money. One estimate of a similar proposal by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was $32 trillion over ten years.
4. It guarantees long-term care — without a plan to pay for it (or anything else). Long-term care includes costly services over years, even decades. Not even Bernie Sanders went that far in his own “Medicare for All” plan.
5. It eliminates the existing state and federal Obamacare exchanges. On the negative side, this means people will lose the insurance they currently have. On the positive side, they’ll finally repeal and replace Obamacare!
6. It will probably cover illegal aliens. It applies to all “residents” of the U.S., and the Secretary of Health and Human Services will decide who qualifies as a “resident.” (The people who want this bill also want open borders.)
7. It covers abortion. The bill will change federal law that currently bans direct funding for abortion (which, to Democrats, includes during birth and possibly after). The bill also bars states from excluding abortion coverage.
8. It bans “experimental” drugs/treatments without special permission from the HHS Secretary. This rule, to keep costs down, could mean an end to the “Right to Try,” which President Donald Trump signed into law last year.
9. It eliminates for-profit medicine. Period. The authors of “Medicare for All” believe that profit is evil, though the prospect of profit is what motivates innovation, investment, and progress in medicine, as in every other field.
10. It bans hospitals and doctors from trying to increase revenue. (Not just profit.) Medicare payments cannot be used for the basic business of running a hospital, including marketing and “incentive payments or bonuses.”
11. It sets national fees — regardless of local factors like the availability of doctors. That is only one aspect of the program that is subject to central planning. Even building or renovating hospitals must be centrally approved.
12. It prohibits bonuses for the best doctors. The bill “prohibits bonuses, incentive payments, or compensation based on utilization of services or the financial results of any health care provider.” Success, like profit, is bad.
13. It punishes doctors for giving special help to individual patients. Doctors will be banned from the system for a year if they make “a private contract with an eligible individual” for services covered by “Medicare for All.”
The authors of the plan seem to have learned nothing from the failure of Obamacare. Rather than finding a way to provide for the small minority who still need health insurance, they want to overhaul the whole health system for everyone. They have not yet learned that people do not like their insurance taken away.
As for those over 65 who already depend on Medicare, they will have hope the system still works when they have to share it with everyone.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.